ATV enthusiasts support Alberta’s push for new helmet law

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WATCH ABOVE: A handful of ATV deaths in our province this spring are once again highlighting the importance of safety gear. In Alberta it is not illegal to operate an all terrain vehicle without a helmet, but as Allie Miller reports, many ATV enthusiasts have been wearing helmets for years, and come the fall it may become legislation.

A handful of recent ATV deaths in Alberta are highlighting the importance of safety gear.

READ MORE: Teen boy killed in ATV rollover while riding with his father in McLean Creek

Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad president Gary Clark champions wearing a helmet when quadding in the backcountry, despite the fact it’s not illegal to operate an all terrain vehicle without a helmet in the province.

“We were just going maybe a couple miles an hour and I just hit a rock and tipped over. If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I know I would have serious injuries,” said Clark of a personal experience.

“The helmet saved me from hitting the ground.”

Stories like Clark’s aren’t uncommon in the quadding community, but some have dire outcomes.

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The leading cause of death for quad riders and passengers between 2002 and 2013 was head injuries, according to the Injury Prevention Centre of Alberta. Seventy-seven per cent of the riders that died were not wearing a helmet.

It is tragic accidents and statistics like these that have the provincial government looking to introduce a mandatory helmet law for ATV users when the legislature resumes in the fall.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP to propose ATV helmet law in the fall

“We need to have some form of mandatory helmet legislation in this province in order to protect people using ATVs,” Minister of Transportation Brian Mason said. “We should be prepared to bring forward some clear policy and legislation that stems from that in the fall sitting.”

Many seasoned riders, who have been wearing helmets for years, say you shouldn’t have to legislate common sense.

“I always wear my helmet,” ATV enthusiast Darrell Shaw said. “I never used to, but I do now.”

READ MORE: Should Alberta restrict kids under 16 from riding ATVs?

Many riders, including Clark and his fellow Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad members, are hitting the trails this weekend. He said safety will be a priority.

“Each member is required to wear a helmet, or they don’t go,” Clark said, adding that you can still enjoy the adrenaline rush while minimizing the risk.

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